Marina Vidas (Copenhagen), Personifications of Venice in fifteenth- and sixteenth-century illuminated documents and manuscripts

My paper will analyze images of female personifications of Venice in frontispieces of illuminated manuscripts and in documents, primarily patents by which doges appointed officials to various offices. I will first examine the sources and development of the iconography for the image of a woman symbolizing the city. Then I will discuss illuminations of doges depicted with a female personification of Venice (for example, a miniature showing Doge Marco Barbarigo attended by a woman holding a banner with the Lion of St Mark and personifying Venice, on folio 1 of MS Additional 21463, in the collection of the British Library, London). Particular attention will be paid to the relationship between text and image and the reasons to believe that the female gender of the personification is not coincidental. Continue reading